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Which teaching style is best for science, and why?

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How would you compare and contrast the three different teaching methodologies: expository, guided inquiry, and free discovery, in a science lesson with respect to a) the amount of learning likely to occur, and b) the amount of prescribed science content likely to be learned?

Based on your answers, what method is preferable for the teaching of science, and why?

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Solution Preview

First it is helpful to define terms. The term "science lesson" - do you mean a laboratory experiment, or a review of vocabulary terms and their meanings? These two would require different approaches, and I would favor different methods for each. Also, it is helpful to discuss the other terms contained in the posting. Expository teaching is primarily teacher-centered lecture, where material is presented by the teacher in whatever format, including audio-visual, and students are to take notes and absorb what is presented to them. Guided inquiry is where the teacher has mapped out a plan for students to follow on their own, and the teacher acts more as a facilitator as students work through the instructions, lessons and examples that the teacher has planned for them to discover, in order that they get the content through their participation in the prescribed activities. Free discovery is providing the materials and allowing students to experiment, and observe, and describe/explain what conclusions they have drawn from their experimentation, and to justify their conclusions, based upon their observations.

Now, to consider each method. Expository is the most traditional method, and free discovery is the newest and most radical approach. Guided ...

Solution Summary

Which teaching method, expository, free discovery, or guided practice, is best for a science classroom, and why? OTA explanation, definition of terms and advice. Web-based references for further reading.